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How Did Obama Do It?

Barack Obama's remarkable road to the presidency leaves in its wake a vastly changed political map and a string of shattered assumptions about the way demographics drive voting.

Ohio, a state which stymied each of the past two Democratic nominees, went for Obama, as did five other 2004 Bush states: Colorado, Virginia, New Mexico, Iowa and Nevada.

A quick look at this evening's final update to the national network exit poll shows where Obama cracked the prevailing political mold:

White college grads. Pres. Bush won them by 11 points in 2004, John McCain eked out a 4-point edge.

Moderates. For all of McCain's efforts to paint Obama as too liberal, the senator from Illinois won by 21 points, a bigger spread than any Democrat except Bill Clinton in his 1996 reelection bid.

New voters. While they didn't make up a much larger slice of the electorate than in 2004, they gave Obama a nearly 40-point margin, far greater than any candidate since the exit poll began asking about vote history in 1988.

African-Americans. Similar to new voters, it wasn't the turnout, but the margin that mattered here. Kerry ceded 11 percent of black voters to Bush in 2004, Obama won the group 95 percent to 4.

Late-deciders. That last-minute tightening? Not so much. Just 4 percent of Election-Day voters said they made up their minds today, and 8 percent total decided in the final weekend.

We'll have more analysis of the exit polls here in the coming days. Stay tuned.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  November 5, 2008; 1:19 AM ET
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Next: Exit Polls: A Look at Cell-Only Voters


To see that Obama won every group except evangelicals and really old people is amazing. We really did live up to our creed yesterday.

Posted by: BayshoreBandit | November 5, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I love greenfaucet because of all of their great financial commentaries... but every once in a while you get to read about a hardcore republican moving the other way.

Posted by: macebruce | November 5, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: goaway41 | November 7, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

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